Colorado football vs. USC preview

Colorado football

After a week off due to COVID-19 positive tests and contract tracing led to last week’s game against Arizona State being canceled, Colorado football is back on the gridiron in Southern California this Saturday to take on the No. 18 USC Trojans. The Buffs have never beaten USC in 14 meetings.

The battle between the Buffs and the Trojans could very well decide which team will represent the South division in the Pac-12 Championship. Both teams are currently tied for the division lead with undefeated records.

This is some doubt about whether or not the game will go on due to USC canceling football practice. Colorado football head coach Karl Dorrell expressed his concerns about the game’s status ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

“I’m so nervous just because you guys all know what’s going on across the country and how this pandemic has spiked everywhere, and it’s really going to affect a lot of teams, including us at some point,” Dorrell said at his Wednesday zoom press conference. “I’m concerned about Thanksgiving, to be honest with you. Concerned about that because those are gatherings and those are risks.”

If the game against USC were to be canceled, all signs would point to Colorado football playing San Diego State as a replacement.


Injuries have certainly taken their toll on the Colorado depth chart. Starting running back Alex Fontenot and tight end Brady Russell will both miss significant time due to injuries. Russell suffered a lower leg injury against Stanford, and Fontenot is expected to miss the entire season after suffering a preseason injury. The Buffs are also expected to start two walk-ons in tight end C.J. Schmanski and Chris Appleton at star.

The good news for the Buffs is that wide receiver K.D. Nixon is expected to get his first game action this week, according to Dorrell.

“K.D. Nixon is practicing for the first time in a full week, so yes, I would expect to see K.D. playing this week, which we’re all excited about,” Dorrell said.

Meanwhile for USC, it would make just as much sense if it was 1-2 instead of 3-0 to start the season. Without an onside kick recovery against Arizona State and a touchdown with 30 seconds left against Arizona, there would be a completely different view of this USC team.

Despite their underwhelming play and slow starts, the Trojans have been able to crawl themselves out of the hole they dig just in time to win the game. A large part of that has been thanks to the play of quarterback Kedon Slovis. When the game is on the line, Slovis easily plays his best football and looks like the top quarterback in the conference.

USC’s slow starts are a stark contrast to the hot starts of Colorado. So far this season, the Buffs have played their best football in the first three quarters but have allowed their opponents to come within one score in the fourth quarter. If Colorado can’t get a big enough lead early, watch for Slovis and the Trojans to quickly gain the lead in the second half.


A win against USC would mean everything for Colorado football. The division lead and the first when against a rival program in school history could be the momentum that pushes the Buffs all the way to the Pac-12 Championship.

USC is the most talented team Colorado has faced so far this season, but it is also the most inconsistent. The slow starts are really going to cost USC in this one. Slovis will try to lead a comeback, but a costly turnover forced by the Colorado defense will save the day for the Buffs.

Colorado quarterback Sam Noyer will surprisingly outplay Slovis and will do enough for the Buffs to earn their third victory over the state of California this season.

FINAL SCORE: Colorado 35, USC 28

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